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New rules of football

September 4, 2021

These are the rules I’d introduce if I was in charge of football:

  • There were would be a separate time-keeper. Let the referee deal with the players, let someone else manage the clock.
  • The clock would stop every time the whistle blows. A player could play-act all they wanted, it wouldn’t make a difference. They couldn’t waste time, because the clock is stopped. Cramp at the end of cup final, players staying down after taking a knock, even VAR, no problem. Let them get it sorted out. It won’t reduce the amount of time the other team has in which to score.
  • I’d add an arc five metres out from the corner flag. A team that’s leading can only have the ball in that zone for ten seconds. After that, they have to bring the ball back out. They can go back in again, but it at least gives the losing team a chance to win the ball without resorting to fouls. (A quick sub-question do teams practice to winning the ball when the opposition have taken it to the corner flag to run the clock down? Seems an obvious thing to do as a strategy).
  • Whenever a goal is scored, the scorers have a minute to celebrate. Let them take their shirts off, let them go nuts, whatever they want to do. A minute after the ball hits the back of the net, the conceding team is free to kick off, whether the scorers are ready or not.
  • Whenever the referee is surrounded by players contesting a decision, he/she can draw a line on the turf, using their chalk spray, beyond which only the two captains can step. The ref can then step back ten yards and discuss the issue civilly. Any players, other the captains, who step over that line would receive a booking.
  • The two captains would have two reviews for VAR, which they can utilise if they think a decision is wrong. The referee can still refer anything to VAR if they deem appropriate. Like in cricket, if their review is successful, they retain their review.
  • Any player caught, using video evidence, committing violent conduct or faking injury to get an opposition player sent off, will be booked or sent off a minute after the start of the next game they play. Their team then has to play with ten players for 89 minutes, plus additional games if the offence is bad enough. This applies to international tournaments, too.
  • If a player is denied a goal-scoring opportunity because of a foul, they should be given that opportunity, rather than the defender being sent off. We could be the solo run from the half-way line, or a penalty, whether the incident occurred in the box or not.
  • Clubs should get a trophy if they contribute more players to the winners of international tournaments than any other club. Let them share in the glory. (But it should be the team they’ve played for the season leading up to the tournament, not the team that buys them in the summer, just before the tournament begins).
  • Offside should be clear daylight.

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